Shut up and listen

June 6, 2012 by  

I just finished a string of springtime presentations. I always learn a lot from interaction with the audience. But this month I learned an especially exciting lesson from my talk on corporate intangible capital at the CEO Club of Boston where I presented this graphic:

 

One of the attendees Chris Mott saw this, went back to his office and wrote a blog postabout what he dubbed “sales capital” He explained how this model is a way to understand the effectiveness of a salesperson or a sales organization:

  • Human Capital – Do your salespeople have the required motivation and passion for success and overcoming adversity?
  • Relationship Capital – Are you partnered with the right people and organizations? Are your salespeople testing their account strategy against objective sources?
  • Systems Capital – Do your salespeople follow a best practices company-specific sales process and leverage the company resources?
  • Strategy Capital – Is your value proposition aligned with the needs of a prospect? Are your salespeople “selling” or are they uncovering need and urgency?

Chris taught me an important lesson. I have always looked at IC through the lens of entire companies or strategic business units. I never have thought about applying it to a functional team or an individual. The experience reminded me of a story that Clay Christensen often tells about a meeting he had with Andy Grove at Intel. Grove wanted Christensen to tell him how his theory of disruptive innovation applied to Intel. Christensen declined saying, let me explain the theory and then you tell me how it applies to your business. That’s exactly what happened and Christensen says it changed forever his approach to answering questions.

The lessons for you? I hope there are at least two. The first is to shut up and listen to your stakeholders-they can see things that you cannot. The second is that it may be interesting to apply this lens to your own knowledge. Do you have a sound system to monetize your own knowledge?

Let me know what you discover.

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